The overestimation of our power and the underestimation of resistance

Patrick Porter writes:

The road to strategic hell is paved with good intentions. Consider the words of General Sir David Richards, the chief of defence staff. We can’t defeat al-Qaida and its ilk, he believes, but we can contain it. In other words, we might never destroy it physically or ideologically but we can limit its potency and lethality “to the point that our lives and our children’s lives” are “led securely”. Amen to that.

But what does “containment” look like? It is a moveable idea. During the cold war, containment meant different things to George Kennan, its intellectual architect, and the later US presidents who expanded and militarised it.

At its best, it is a practical idea. It holds that, without exhausting or overextending ourselves, we can bound a threat and curtail its ability to operate, then wait patiently for it to wither into an irrelevance or nuisance. It works well with a self-defeating enemy, be it the Soviet Union with its doomed Marxist-Leninist system and imperial overstretch, or al-Qaida, a movement that habitually alienates the very Muslims it claims to represent. Containment is not only about outlasting the enemy, but about keeping costs down and avoiding self-defeating behaviour.

But General Richards’s containment is more ambitious. It involves “upstream prevention”, “education and democracy” and – judging by his other recent remarks – maybe a future military intervention in Yemen. He doesn’t favour more military interventions now, but it would be “barmy to say that one day we wouldn’t be back in that position”.

This means using our (depleted) wealth, our (reduced) military and our (dubious) confidence that we know what is good for others.

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3 thoughts on “The overestimation of our power and the underestimation of resistance

  1. pabelmont

    All this to be done by the exhausted British empire and the doomed USA Empire!

    And taking note that the USA’s grandiose view of its world role makes (at least low-level) enemies world wide, daily. and on purpose. As if to say, we need enemies to justify our world-wide military bases and so we manufacture them with (and by) these bases, and by our imperial resources-wars, and by the world-wide bombing by our our unmanned guided missiles and drones — and thereby have a self-justifying system (pretty nifty, huh?) which works until China and others stop paying all our bills (the USA having ruled out actually paying the trillions of $$ for these wars, preferring to super-enrich our already super-rich ruling class by lowering their taxes to a negligible amount, less sometimes than the poor pay).

  2. Norman

    What is going to interesting is where the money to keep paying for the War Mongers in Washington? I guess when nobody else in the world will front the money, then the government will have to go after the super rich. Either give it up, or to the gulag with you. That goes for all the politicians who today support war & the Israeli war machine.

  3. Ian Arbuckle

    Right, so just let us contain the sociopathic [s]elected elite who are imposing upon us the NWO, along with their strategists and foot servants like General Sir David Richards who invented and continue to perpetrate the myths of Al Qaeda in the first place, and pursue the GWOT to their ends at the cost of lives and suffering to millions. Also let us contain the fraudulent banksters who have “designed” and are executing a global financial collapse so as to reincarnate their system of usury, to rise like a phoenix in its new form of total control disaster capitalism, a form which will look just like the Orwellian vision of tyranny and slavery through fear and psy-ops propaganda plus debt.

    Quite frankly, if the agencies of the West were just contained to the extent that they were stopped from kidnapping, torturing, invading and occupying countries, destroying environments, stealing resources, defiling religious beliefs, and generally using their agencies to corrupt, rape and control, psychologically, economical or militarily, the relative damage done by terrorism is likely to be very insignificant.

    Just figure out for yourself who the terrorists are, knowing that 9-11, 7-7 in London, 3-11 in Spain, as well as the Bali bombing 10-12 02 and 10-1 05, and don’t forget Mumbai are all orchestrated through undercover agents of Western and Zionist interests. These were the pump primers, the sacrifices made to the New World Order.

    That a nation of Islam is rising, an Ummah, led by violent extremism is just that much bunkum. And if one invested 20 billion or more a year into countering little gray aliens from mars, you would probably find more of them then they have “real” Islamic extremist terrorists.

    Is there a conspiracy afoot? Absolutely as Agatha Christie had her famous Hercule Poirot say (speaking to Captain Hastings) : When the criminal sets out to do a crime, his first effort is to deceive. Whom does he seek to deceive? The image in his mind is that of the normal man…. You show me what the criminal wishes me to believe. It is a great gift.

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